New York State broadband map goes live, receives additional funds

According to a release by Governor David Paterson this week, an initiative two years and millions of dollars in the making is now available for public use. The New York State Broadband Mapping website was recently launched, allowing policymakers and citizens to assess the availability of high-speed Internet service.

As part of a final round of funding from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), New York launched a statewide map indicating broadband availability and service provider coverage for various types of broadband. The state has been collecting data for two years, but Gov. Paterson says the new funds are much needed.

“Making broadband universally available so that every New Yorker can fully participate in the modern economy is vital to our recovery as a State,” Governor Paterson said in a statement. “This federal grant will be put to good use as we work to collect, verify, map and analyze data obtained from each of the companies that offers broadband service to New York State customers.”

New York State has received nearly $9 billion dollars under the State Broadband Data & Development Program to date for broadband inventory and availability mapping. The project originally received $2.5 million in 2008, but it was extended this week for another three years with the help of an additional $6.4 million from the NTIA.

Users of the website can see a list of broadband providers in their area, type of services provided, including Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable modem, direct fiber connection, and wireless and the number of competitive service types in each neighborhood. Perhaps more importantly, the map permits visitors to display those areas in the State that lack broadband coverage – and allows users to contribute to the state’s database of information on broadband in the state. Users are encouraged to test their speeds, provided by the Center for Technology in Government at SUNY-Albany, as well as report errors or omissions on the map.

The state’s Office of Cyber Security & Critical Infrastructure has managed and will continue to manage the broadband mapping effort. Director Thomas Smith says the initiative will be a powerful tool for both business and government in the coming months.

“This new broadband data, when combined and analyzed with other data such as demographic and business information, will provide policy-makers with a solid foundation for their decisions,” he said.

New York has received $149.5 million in funding for broadband projects, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and other federal funds. These funds have been targeted to eliminate the digital divide and ensure every community, resident and business has the technology resources needed to thrive in the New Economy based on knowledge, technology and innovation, the governor said.

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